Remember when the first Mercedes CLS came along, taking staid and safe Mercedes to a far swoopier and sexier place? That was 2003, and the four-door coupe hadn't really figured in the motoring mainstream; now, such was the success of that original that Merc will sell you a front-wheel drive, diesel CLA. And don't you see plenty of those?
Mercedes will be hoping you see plenty of these as well, the third-generation CLS. Described as "building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model", it has made its debut at LA and will go on sale next March.
The CLS's styling has of course always been a big part of its appeal; while we would typically impart a PH opinion on the matter for a new car, it would be remiss not to pass on Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener's thoughts. Ready? "We have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging it with an almost erotic beauty." One to tell your friends when they ask.
The interior borrows heavily from the E-Class, which is certainly no bad thing in our book. There's probably another awkward quote to use here but that doesn't seem fair; the important news now is that the CLS is a five-seater for the first time, the seats can be folded and there's 520-litres of boot space.
The CLS will be launched with a range of straight-sixes recently introduced in the S-Class. There will be a 350d 4Matic with 286hp and 443lb ft, a 400d 4Matic with 340hp and 516lb ft (both using the same 3.0-litre diesel) and a CLS450 4Matic with 367hp and 369lb ft. Well, sort of. As one of Mercedes new 'EQ Boost' engines, the six-cylinder petrol comes with 48v onboard electrical system that can also provide a 22hp/184lb ft overboost. Mercedes claims it helps out with energy recuperation sufficiently enough to "make fuel savings possible that were previously the exclusive domain of high-voltage hybrid technology."
You'll be familiar by now with the roster of optional equipment available on Benzes, and those extras feature here too - with extra capital letters. The optional air suspension is AIR BODY CONTROL, PRE-SAFE Impulse Side prepares occupants for an impending crash with a "sideways impulse" and the ULTRA RANGE high beam of the MULTIBEAM LED headlights produces "the maximum light intensity permitted by law". So there you go. As standard you'll get Active Brake Assists, Lane Keeping Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST (is that a voice shouting at you perhaps?) and Speed Limit Assist.
While the car is driving itself along in traffic you can take advantage of the CLS's 'In-Car Office tech", allowing you to further extend those powerfully built company director hours on the commute. The car can automatically dial into a conference call, even one with a PIN access code, from a calendar entry. And presumably including those ones you don't want to be in...
It's a comprehensive overhaul of the CLS then, and this is just the start: four-cylinder versions will follow, and you would have to assume both estate and AMG versions too. Keep your eyes peeled for more in the New Year.
Inspired? Buy a Mercedes CLS here